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Author Topic: Frame spacing by frame design  (Read 2332 times)

Offline JackM

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Frame spacing by frame design
« on: November 02, 2011, 09:57:14 AM »
I think I saw in ABC XYZ of..... that the frames are actually designed to be in contact with each other at the uprights, as this provides the perfect spacing, yet in an 8 frame super it almost leaves enough room for another frame.  Now I gather that a dead space that large will get built up with comb.  Is that why the spacing is actually a bit more than edge to edge on the frame uprights?  (Mind you I have never seen a live hive and built up comb.)  Should that space just get filled with a board that can be removed so you can slide the frames about to work on them?

So difficult to visualize this stuff, videos only go so far.

I hope this isn't a big disagreement topic, very curious about it.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Frame spacing by frame design
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2011, 12:05:32 PM »
Yes, there is almost enough for one more frame in an eight frame box.  You can do any of several things.

1)  you can just put them all in the middle and leave the space on the outsides. (I do this sometimes)

2) you can shave a little off of the end bars and put 9 frames in (this is what I do most of the time)

3) you can make some follower boards and put one or two on the outside edges. (I do this some of the time)

4) you can just shave one frame down quite a bit and put it in the center and get 9 frames in. (I do this often but I just use PermaComb which has no spacer).

Michael Bush
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My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline windfall

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Re: Frame spacing by frame design
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2011, 12:46:13 PM »
Jack I was surprised how quickly the frame spacing increases from propolis and debris sticking to the frame edges.
 As a newbie I was in the hives quite a bit, and that probably exaggerated the problem/process, but unless you scrape down the frame edges every time you pull them, a fair bit of that "extra space" disappears by mid summer.

I wish I had built more space in the 5 frame nucs to account for this...they got really tight, and it is nice to have some room to work: less fear fear of rolling a queen.

Offline BlueBee

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Re: Frame spacing by frame design
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2011, 02:30:46 PM »
Here’s one of my solutions for preventing propolis from gluing frames together and changing the frame spacing over time.


Offline Solomon Parker

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Re: Frame spacing by frame design
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2011, 10:23:27 AM »
I wish I had built more space in the 5 frame nucs to account for this...they got really tight, and it is nice to have some room to work: less fear fear of rolling a queen.
Here's a tip for you.  Instead of poking your hive tool in there and pulling out a frame from the midst of the box, take out a frame at the very edge first.  The queen is virtually never on one of these frames.  That leaves a big space for spreading things apart and pulling frames with little danger of rolling a queen.  When you're done, put it back in.

Something Michael mentioned in passing was shaving the frames' end-bars down.  Typical frames' end-bars are 1 3/8" wide.  This is a compromise between the natural spacing of brood combs and honey combs.  Michael and I and a number of other beekeepers have begun shaving end-bars down to 1 1/4".  With that spacing, you can fit 11 frames in a 10 frame box and 9 frames in an 8 frame box as Michael mentioned.  It helps to eliminate uneven combs which can cause problems with rolling bees upon frame extraction.

You can evenly space nine frames in a honey super and as long as the bees can get between the end-bars, propolis will not build up there.  The bees will build out the comb further which will make uncapping easier.
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Re: Frame spacing by frame design
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2011, 11:17:12 AM »
There is often bits of comb attached to the sides of the hive.  Pulling the frames at the very end first often (if not usually) scrape or pull on these attachments, tearing some of the comb.  If there is not an area of low activity (which is the obvious place to.start pulling frames) , then I will usually start with the SECOND comb in..then I can move the end comb away from the side and minimize damage.

Offline windfall

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Re: Frame spacing by frame design
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2011, 06:40:22 PM »

I often pull a frame out of the hives (either out most or one in depending how it looks) and put it in a empty while I work. Like I said, it nice to have lots of room when you new. But you still have to get that first frame out, and I wish I had more room in those 2 nucs! They also seemed to fill up with bees wall to wall a lot faster than the big boxes.

I can't remember if they are 1 1/4 frames and that would have helped, probably not as I think I had run out of those by mid summer and these were caught swarms.